Home Is Where The Art Is

If you are an artist, a lover of art then I hope that I can inspire you to do what you love.

Monday, 31 October 2011


Starting the day with a sale, is possibly the best way to start the day. Good job that was how I started my day. One tortoise has gone to a new home and they absolutely love him. The animals have gone down an absolute storm. I would like to have an entire show of interpretations of animals. Maybe next year.
I am trying to get through my Monday list and that just means spending all day in front of the computer. It is not that much fun and unlike Justin Timberlake I am NOT loving it!
I hope that you have seen my adverts etc by now. They look pretty good if I do say so myself. I think that has been my biggest learning curve so far. I am now getting fairly au fait with the making things fit which up to now has been the bane of my life.
If you are local to Purbeck please do think about being involved in the Christmas show. If you have ever taken your work to a gallery and had it rejected then you should definitely come and see me. I am not promising that I will show it in the main gallery but you may well be able to get it shown in an introducing new talent show.
Or you wanted to be involved with Purbeck Art Weeks festival and never knew how to get started this is the perfect introduction. Two pieces in the gallery for £10 has to be a bargain hasn't it?
I am passionate about giving all artists an opportunity to show their work for the first time. It's the only way they will ever get the chance to be discovered. I hope that I am the lucky one that gets to be your first supporter.
To make it super easy to get you involved here's a link to my website where there is a downloadable application form.
I am hoping to get a good variety of people involved so please do think about entering no matter what kind of work you produce.


I also managed to mess myself up by not changing the clocks at the gallery. So when I was thinking that my industrious start to the day was speeding by, it was in fact another gallery lie!
Sometimes, I do get on my own nerves for being forgetful and this morning was just one of those times.
I know that people who read my blog are involved in all aspects of the arts so I should tell you about this new company who are just starting out. It's a music production company and it's based in London so they have already got a great pedigree if you look at the artists/musicians they have worked with.
Check them out if this is something you are interested in.


I am going to go and get on with something necessary and stop all this blogcrastination.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

The Holiday's Over!

And So Am I

I have returned. I had a good holiday I managed to keep surprisingly dry in Wales. I saw dolphins at New Quay and some amazing beaches up that whole coast line. I can totally recommend that part of Wales as it's very pretty.
I would like to thank Shirley for doing an amazing job of standing in for me at the gallery. I found everything nice and tidy and very good order. So thanks for that Shirley.
I am pleased to report that this show has been very well received.
I am wading my way through the paperwork that has been neglected in my absence. That is always the most tedious bit of coming home, that and the piles of washing that inevitably need to be done.
I have to get my blog writing head back on, I think I might have left a bit of it in Wales.
If you are a local artist and you are reading my blog can I suggest you think about entering the Christmas show. The more the merrier I really would like the show to reflect the variety of work being produced locally. If you have always thought that you would like to be involved or show your work at a gallery then now is the time to get an application form and fill it in.
In my absence the windows had built up more grease than a deep fat fryer on a Saturday night. It is so weird that it so greasy. Don't worry I was up my trusty step ladder this morning polishing like my life depended on it. All the while holding on the window frame like my balance depended on it.
I often wonder what people think when they see me go about the chore of window cleaning. I give it all I've got with a white knuckle grip on the window frame. If I was watching me I'd probably have a sly giggle.
A busy week ahead for me with lots to do and lots to get out there. My new adverts are in Evolver and the Purbeck Gazette so please do have a look.
I hope that you have a great weekend.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

I'm Off But Come and See Shirley!

I am convinced now more than ever that I should definitely have more time off. It would seem that in my absence my trusty stand ins sell stuff. I hope this is true next week. I'd love to come back and see lots of red dots.
I spent yesterday doing housework which is not as much fun as being at the gallery.
A big thanks to Liz Hatcher for looking after the gallery yesterday.
It has been busy at the gallery today if the last two hours are anything to go by, 20 people through the door. There are a few pieces that seem really popular and to be honest I'm surprised they haven't sold yet as they are very reasonably priced.
I want you all to keep your eyes open as I have got adverts coming out in Evolver and also the Purbeck Gazette.
I often have a break when writing my blog as I like to make sure it reflects the whole day. It's now 4.15pm and I have had 34 people through the door. I think that's my second highest ever. Let's hope that all these visitors turn into sales next week. People quite often like to go away and think about it.
You will have a whole week off from me so I hope that you enjoy it. I will be back with you next Saturday.
I hope that you have a great weekend and for those of you lucky enough to be on half term next week, hope the sun shines and you have a really good week.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Queen of Shove and Bung

It doesn't relate to the blog in anyway but I took this picture!

Normal service resumes today. Having not had real access to my studio for the last couple of months I have  enjoyed indulging my OCD tendencies and sorting it out. For someone as tidy as me I have to confess that I am a terrible 'shove and bunger'. When I have to make the studio presentable I will shove and bung everything out of sight.
People come in the studio and praise it's orderliness if only they knew what lurked beneath the purpose made curtains.
I like to hide all the rubbish although today I thought I'd mostly throw it all away. So two giant bin bags later and order is reigning supreme in the studio.
This isn't as straightforward as it sounds, all artists (most of the ones I know anyway) are notoriously bad at throwing things away. There is this weird perceived value in virtually everything. It probably could be put to some use in some way in something.
I've mentioned before that I have a studio at home that I am dismantling, imagine the stuff that I am finding there. Loads of really useful stuff or not.
Now I have no excuse not to get on and start doing some printmaking as the level of tidiness is at an all time high.
The gallery has been quite quiet today, the sun is out but there is a definite chill in the air. I hope that it gets nice and busy next week during half term. I'll be in Wales but my good friend Shirley will be running the gallery in my absence.
So please pop in and say hello if you are in Swanage next week.
If you are an animal lover I have to let you know that the current exhibition features an actual menagerie. There's everything from gulls, to penguins to crocodiles and for all you dog lovers out there, there's plenty of them too.
Bring your kids they will love it.
I have got the day off tomorrow as I need to get ready for my holiday so Liz Hatcher will be holding the fort. She is actually part of the exhibition, so if you are planning to visit tomorrow she will be able to tell you all about the work on display. That should be worth popping in for.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Price List Pilfering!

Well hello and welcome to blog number 326! Yes you read it right! I can't quite believe that I have written that many. I always thought that one day I would write a book but as of yet I have not got round to it. I'm sure that if I compiled all 326 blogs there would be enough material for a book.
When I have that much time on my hands then something will have gone horribly wrong as I am always busy.
Saturdays Private View was a great success, there were so many people through the door and some sales which was great. A great time was had by all and all the Pimms got drunk which is always a good sign.
I think this show is a real crowd pleaser as there are some really quirky bits that appeal to everybody. I'm not going to tell you come and check it out as I don't want to repeat myself.
Do you remember some time ago I wrote a blog about people stealing price lists? Saturday was no exception, I printed out 40 and then my printer ran out of ink so I had to send a friend to photocopy it 10 more times. Seriously, I had to stop people leaving with them, if I knew them I asked them just what exactly did they intend to do with them once they had left the gallery. They mostly shrugged and said they didn't know. I watched people carefully fold them up and stuff them into pockets, handbags etc but it begs the question WHY TAKE IT IN THE FIRST PLACE? There is a strange fascination with taking away anything that is going free. I may have to start charging.
My friends husband suggested attaching them to a retractable dog lead that I could retract should they set foot out the door.
I welcome any other thief proof suggestions that you may have. I am open to even your wackiest ideas.
It's gone horribly grey and miserable I am not looking forward to the winter. I can already feel the need for thermals.
If you are an artist living in Dorset can I recommend joining Dorset Visual Arts. I have heard great things about them and also their vision for developing the local art scene is very exciting indeed.
I think  that I have covered everything see you soon!

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Working 9 to 5, then 6, then 7!!! You get the picture!

Is it becoming a habit? I have been so busy that to say I haven't had time to write my blog would be an understatement. I am writing this from my bed because I know that if I leave it until later that it will never get it written.
First things, first I would like to send a very big thank you to my really good friend Ian. Without his help yesterday I would be nowhere near ready. All I have to do at work is get the prices stuck on and type up the price list. That shouldn't take too long.
I hope that if you are planning a visit to Swanage today you will come and see the new exhibition. It is a group ceramics show and there really is something for everyone and the prices are extremely reasonable. Perfect for that unique Christmas gift.
So much has happened that I can't actually remember what I've been up to so here's the best bits.

  • Took show down
  • Put show up
I hope that gives you the full picture. When my head is less full of my imminent workload I have actually got a whole heap of stuff to talk to you about and great events that you might want to attend. Also creative opportunities. If I forget you'll just have to remind me.
I hope that you have a great weekend and that you can take advantage of the sunshine.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Can You Settle An Argument?

Gallery Versus Shop

Am I being a snob? I'm going to let you decide. Is it wrong that I get ever so slightly annoyed when people ask me how the shop is going? I want to reply that I wasn't aware that I  had a shop as well as a gallery. Now is that snobbery? It is technically a shop that sells art right? Maybe I just like to think of it as a 'gallery' that sells art. Does that make me snob? Answers on the back of a postcard please.
It has been a while since I took the time to bother you with any of my observations. It's all I can do get my blog written some days.
I have managed to successfully procrastinate about painting the front of the gallery for at least two weeks now. I am seriously in danger of putting myself in exactly the same position that I was in last year. In freezing temperatures, up a ladder with palpitations and frost bitten fingers trying to paint in a straight line. What is it they say about learning from your mistakes. Apparently, I'm of the twice bitten variety. I am half joking I will get it done before we are plunged into the predicted freezing temperatures. I better get a move on because according to the news that could happen by the end of the week.
So yesterday I was talking about the Macmillan Charity Bash that is happening this Friday at Fortes in Swanage. If you like dance music there are some very good DJs lined up to play there.
All monies raised will go to the Macmillan Charity, a very worthy cause.
Today I want to publicize something very different. If you are into art then there is a good chance that you might well be into music and theatre.
The Swanage 50/50 Club is trying to broaden our cultural horizons via comedy, cinema, music and theatre. I am happy to say that I am a member (very nearly) of this excellent cause. The idea is to regenerate the very underused Mowlem and create almost a centre for arts and culture. If you are local check out the link and I'm sure you will agree that it is just what Swanage needs and will be as excited as I am about the prospect of having a venue for bands, comedians and theatre groups to come and entertain us in.


Have a look and if you think it's something that you are interested in then show them your support, it does not have to financial. The more people who support it and say that we want it the more likely it is to happen.
It's a long, dark and cold winter wouldn't it be nice to have something to do locally to brighten up those evenings?
I have not achieved a great deal today, this is partly due to the fact that I have been engrossed in some of the most interesting conversations I've had in quite some time. I can deal with those kind of distractions.
But now I must get on.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Another Day, Another List.

Back to the daily grind. Although for me it's more grime than grind. As usual I have to do a thorough clean to set me up for the entire week.
I have also got my new list of things to do to work through. It is surprising how they seem to develop a life of their own. It would be even more handy if they managed to complete the necessary tasks as well.
I cannot believe how time flies, the current exhibition finishes this week. It's been on for six weeks already.
After a late flurry of visitors on Saturday it turned out to be one of my busiest days for the last couple of weeks.
You know that I am always trying to promote either the gallery or worthy causes. So here's my list for Monday.
There is a charity raffle for Macmillan Cancer and I have donated one of my prints as a prize. It is one of my more conservative images, it's of the sea. So if you are local to Swanage and have an opportunity to support this great cause then please do.
On a completely different note there is an opportunity for artists working in any field to be part of something quite exciting. Unfortunately, I am way too busy to even consider entering this myself but I know there are those of you that would relish the challenge. Here's a link to the site. There's money attached and it could be a really good commission.


I am mentally gearing up for the next exhibition, which is going to be 'All fired Up'. A group exhibition of ceramics. The Private View will be from 3.00 - 6.00 this coming Saturday. It would be lovely to see you here.

I have also finished tweaking my website for the moment. I have started to link artist websites with their images that appear on my website.
I'd love some feedback if you could have a look and let me know what you think that would be great.

I have some serious research to do this afternoon so I best stop writing this and get on with it.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Show Me The Way To Go Home................................

Definitely the latter as opposed to the former

I'm not sure that not drinking coffee is agreeing with me. After the initial self righteous pat on the back for having functioned without it I am now in mourning. I really miss the fact that it made me wake up significantly more than I am able to achieve without it.
I slid off the wagon and indulged in a cup this morning it was like a tease. I didn't want to stop at one it was definitely a two coffee morning.
I had the luxury of having the morning off work today as I had to get my haircut. My hairdresser just laughed when he saw how long it had grown in the 3 months since I'd last visited him. I like the fact that he just dives in almost immediately and starts snipping away.
There has definitely been an increase in traffic at the gallery today which is a very good thing. I was growing concerned that it has been so very quiet this week. But take away the sun and that is when people get a mooch on and visit the gallery.
I have also been playing with the website again today. Editing the pictures out that were just padding it out a bit. I have now added several new ones, so if you want to see what kind of art I have on show at the gallery you should check it out as there is a much better representation of a wider range of artists and their work.


If you haven't made it to Swanage this weekend then I think you will have missed out on the Blues Festival and seeing the current exhibition which ends next week.
A wealth of free entertainment awaits you in Swanage and I might have mentioned before that is my favourite price.
I was contemplating closing early but there have been so many people in I think I'll just wait it out. You never know I might get a sale.
I hope that you have great stuff planned to do this weekend and that the lack of sun doesn't wreck any of your plans.
See you back here on Monday!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Premature Ageing

I have managed to have one day off from my blog every week now but believe me when I say it is because I have been too busy to actually write it. I spent the whole day yesterday designing my adverts for various publications. For months now I have been ageing and greying significantly every time that I have to produce some form of publicity for the gallery. This is due to the fact that I am not a graphic designer. So yesterday when I returned a call to my sister and proceeded to spend nearly two hours on the phone to her. I ask her how to do something and she says 'you should do all that kind of work in Powerpoint'. I open it up and get started and within no time whatsoever I can see that she was totally right. It works logically and accurately and can be saved as a pdf. I could have cried tear of relief when I finished two jobs that would usually take me a day each. You will have to look for the results yourself in the latest edition of Evolver and also the Purbeck Gazette.
I have also written an editorial for the P.G. I have no problem at all writing my blog but when it comes to publicity there is a stumbling block that I cannot seem to get over. You'll have to look at the fruits of my labour when it gets published.
I am writing an early blog as I anticipate being as busy today as I was yesterday. I am going to be working on the website as soon as I have checked and sent the adverts.
What a difference a week makes. It is hard to believe that this time last week I was organising an evening picnic at Kimmeridge as the weather was so lovely.
Today I got up and put the heating on.
It is the Blues Festival in Swanage this weekend and I think that even if you don't like Blues particularly you would have a great time over here. Lots of live music in a really good variety of venues and there is generally a good buzz in the air. You could also take that opportunity to pop into the gallery and I would be very pleased to see you.
I best get ready and go to work as I have written this blog from the comfort of my bed. Lovely!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

What's That Annoying Ringing Sound?

Ring ring,ring ring, ring ring!! That's me ignoring the phone. Do you remember when I started my blog? I used to moan about the amount of cold calls that I was getting. Well a year on and all of my current contracts are up for renewal so the phone keeps ringing and unfortunately for me I have to keep answering it.
I cannot explain the tedium of this "Hello can I speak to Mrs James". I should tell them that ship has long since sailed. I'm afraid she no longer exists. Do you think that would shut them up? Maybe I'll give it a go.
Just a footnote really, why is it the more indignant I get the more placatory they get? When I really want to swear profusely at them for going on and on without letting me get a word in edge ways. I can feel my imaginary business partner making a welcome return to the gallery any time now. Then I can say 'I'm sorry I couldn't possibly make such an important decision without consulting my business partner, Goodbye'.
I have spent the morning tinkering with my various on line presences. It would seem that my innate inability to type means that I make stupid speeling mistakes ;). I know I did it. I need an assistant spell checker. I'm sure you've noticed them and I'll take this opportunity to apologise for them. Sorry.
My brain tends to work far quicker than my fingers can type.
It's oh so quiet at the gallery today. There are very few people mooching about today. I'm not sure that it's beach weather though.
I have been composing an email which I am probably going to have to get someone else to read before I send it. I find it really difficult to sell myself/the gallery. It's another thing to add to my learning rainbow.

I have been working on my in house photographers website this morning and it does look good. There is still some fine tuning to do but it should be up and running very soon.
My loyal reader Willie has been on at me for ages to change the colour of my blog. He thinks black is far too dull a colour for a gallery blog. I have searched through all the templates and I am struggling to find anything that allows me to do the same as this one. They might look colourful but they are limited. Also the blog ties in with the website perfectly.
It is that time of day that I think that I should get on and do something more interesting instead. You should too.

Monday, 3 October 2011

I Had A Good One, Did You?


I don't know about you but I had a really good weekend outside in the sun for a nice large chunk of it. I attended the Boilerhouse Gallery Soiree on Saturday evening. It was really good, a nice informal way of meeting the artists and look at their new work. This was followed by a great tapas meal at the Bankes Arms in Corfe.
So there you go, there are two activities that you can do when you are next in Corfe. Visit the great Boilerhouse Gallery and Studios then have a tasty meal at the Bankes Arms.
I spent Sunday at Kimmeridge and for once the 'sun' in Sunday was exactly spot on. I ventured in the sea and did some snorkeling but the visibility wasn't very good. But the good news is that my wetsuit banished the cold and I did not freeze to death as I have in the past when I have foolishly got in the sea in England.
Whilst at the Boilerhouse on Saturday Jan Dagley and I had a great idea for an open exhibition for some time next year. It will be artists impressions of Kimmeridge. The idea isn't to reproduce some picture perfect version of what it looks like but a piece of work that is inspired by the place. I think that would be a great show to put on for next summer. It could take any form and be produced in whatever media. If this sounds like something that you might want to be involved in then you need to get in touch with me and let me know so that I can add you to the mailing list for the application form.
It will also give those of you who have never been to Kimmeridge an excellent excuse to visit and get inspired.
The gallery has been a bit busier today which is a relief as I know there's plenty of opportunities for it to be quiet in the long, dark winter months so let's look at art whilst the sun shines.
I am really going to try and get people to start thinking globally instead of locally. I am seeing so much potential locally that I think that the whole world should know about. By the whole world I mean that laterally at least the whole of England.
I want to encourage creative people to share and spread the wealth. The more the artistic community does to help each other the more chances there are of everyone being successful. If there are events going on at your studio let everyone know. I am always more than happy to give events a mention in my blog but I have to know about it.
Now it is time for lunch so I am off.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Every Cloud.........

I couldn't wait until Monday as I could see that my stats had dropped off significantly due to the fact that I was not posting in all my usual places. I have tweaked the old blog and I hope that you like it. I said it in my blog the other day, newer does not necessarily equate to better. In terms of my blog that really was the case.
Isn't it strange that the new designs available allow you considerably less control and no real additional content.
Oh well another thing to add to my learning rainbow!
It is boiling outside and I'm sat here with the heater on as the gallery maintains it's cool in every way.
Whilst I am never going to be fan of anything government (not until we get true democracy anyway) I have to say that not paying business rates for another year was very welcome news and today I found out that I am due a nice big tax rebate. So cheers for that.
I have done the picture reshuffle as I said I would and consequently sold the three pieces I had just hung.
Margaret Lawton came to collect her work as it is going on to be another exhibition the A303 Open if you didn't see it here then you might be able to catch it there. We were discussing how surprised we were that certain things hadn't sold as they are really good. Within two minutes of that conversation ending I sold three of the pieces that we had been talking about. Makes me feel slightly better about being stuck inside on one of the hottest days of the year.
I'm hoping that you are reading this when the sun has completely disappeared because you were too busy being outside enjoying it to read it when I posted it.
I am plotting and scheming how to spend my day off tomorrow. I may even get in the sea and go seahorse hunting. Now I've got my super thick wetsuit.